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Here and Now

November 30, 2012

All day yesterday, I was drafting my post for today, my last day of thankfuls.  As we lit the candles at supper again and I looked at the lights sparkling–in the candles, on the Christmas tree, and the Christmas lights hanging outside–I thought, tomorrow I shall be thankful for light.

Oops.  Today, I am not thankful for light.  Well, I am thankful for light, but that is not my official “thankful” for the day.  My path of reading last and this morning has led my somewhere else entirely.

Day 30 of 30 Days of Gratitude:  Today I am thankful I am raising my daughter (and sons!) in a culture where girls are valued and important. I am thankful I can tell my daughter she can be anything she wants to be and it is true. I am thankful that my church values women and their knowledge/leadership as important as men’s. I am thankful Madeleine can receive the same education as her brothers and doors will not close for her solely based on her gender. I am thankful for all the women and men who helped create this culture we are fortunate enough to live in.

Wow.  How did I get from light to this?

Way back in my What Happened to October post, I mentioned that one night I skipped my normally scheduled tv show and watched Half the Sky entirely by accident instead.  Consequently, I bought Half the Church for a sharp discount on kindle.  In time I finished that book and have wondered, what can I do?  Why am I being awakened to these issues?  What does this mean for me?  You know, the good self-centered questions people in our society ask ourselves (vs how can I help others?).

Last night, as I waited for Isaac to go to sleep I searched inside the book Half the Sky on Amazon.  They have an amazing amount of the book available for reading in the search inside feature.  I read about education issues facing girls, human trafficking, and stories of girls and women escaping the binds of oppression.  I thought about downloading the kindle version, but decided to wait and order the book instead.  To be honest, I am a little scared to read it.  I don’t know if I can stand to know exactly what happens in this world.

This morning I checked some of my favorite blogs.  One of them linked into her favorite posts from others for the week.  I clicked on some of the links, including this one:  The Three Deadliest Words in the World:  It’s a Girl.  I shuddered as I read it.  The post was about gendercide, particularly in India and China.  I was stunned and felt emotionally all wrung out (that’s your warning, don’t click through to it if you don’t want to feel appalled).  I sat still for a moment afterwards, wondering how girls could be so devalued.  I thought of Madeleine, and thought once again of something Rachel Held Evans wrote, which unfortunately I can’t find word for word (because I don’t own her book!!!–Evolving in Monkey Town. Why don’t I own that book!???).  Rachel Held Evans basically said that she started struggling with Christianity when she realized that so much of her life and faith had to do with the time and culture she had been born into.  How does God love me more because I was born Mennonite in the US in the late 20th century?   Doesn’t God love those girls born in India equally well—girls that have a greater chance of being sold and trafficked if their mothers don’t kill them at  birth because they were born a girl?  I sat, in my hard wooden chair in my climate controlled house, with my children with full bellies, and was humbled.  I realized those girls are no different than mine.  Madeleine was only blessed to be born here in this place, in this time–to life that was full of possibilities and opportunities.  She is able to use all of her God given gifts—her intelligence, her leadership abilities, her gentleness–because of the culture she was born into (recognizing that not all cultures within the US or Christianity give her this freedom).

I knew my thankful for this day.

(And yes, there will still be a post coming on the book, Half the Church.  I suspect I’ll be rereading it again soon, this time, hopefully taking notes since I haven’t figured out how to do it on my kindle version.  It’s still percolating.  I’m still figuring out what in the world to do with it all.).

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